Holidays vs Travelling
I’ve just got back from an awesome week in Spain. I was there for a travel blogger conference called TBEX, with about 400 others. My time at the conference was great – I reconnected with people I hadn’t seen for months, sometimes years, and made lots of new friends too.
But what I want to talk about here is the hotels. The conference was in Lloret de Mar, a little town an hour away from Barcelona on the Catalan coast. While I was at the conference I stayed in this little hotel, seemed to be family run, which was fine. Cheap hotel, nice room, noisy as hell and barely got any sleep, but the Wi-Fi was good so can’t complain.
After that I went to a hotel near the beach. This was one of those big hotels, endless rooms, three pools and sun loungers every way you look.
I realised as I was checking in for my two nights that the couple next to me were booking in for a week’s all inclusive. Day two and I felt sorry for that couple I’d overheard at the front desk. Have you ever been all inclusive?
So I had breakfast included and it went a little like this…
Must be at breakfast between 8:30 and 10am. Go in to a dark depressing room, which could easily be some staff canteen at a big corporation. Find an empty table. Bag table with something. Take a plate and walk round the plates of ham sweating under the lights, watch the slices of cheese as they melt into each other like a Dali clock, then move onto the baskets and baskets, and baskets, of croissants and other fatty bum bum pastries. The two days I was there, there can’t have been more than 10 people in the dining room. There was no need for the gluttonous amount, unless they were just wheeled out day after day, which makes it worse. The yogurt was more like milk, the sausages couldn’t legally be called that, and the eggs were oilier than a Channel swimmer. Coffee came out of a machine that had pre mixed the sugar in and I can only assume they got the muesli and the rabbit food mixed up.
Anyway, that’s not what I’m here to rant about. Although I could go on. What I wanted to blog about was the fact that I can’t believe people do this for a whole week on holiday. From the 10 people I talked about earlier, in this eerily oversized hotel, all of them would spend the day lay by the pool before getting up for more food. I know, I could see them from my balcony where I was sat working. I only had to go to that room twice for breakfast, and the second day I grabbed a croissant and some watermelon and left to get my bus the hell out of there. Those people had to go for breakfast, lunch and dinner to get their money’s worth, pretty much a crime when you consider the town was full of tasty fish restaurants and tapas houses.
Granted there wasn’t much to do in Lloret, but there’s no way I’d choose a holiday like that. How can you just lie by the pool, all day, every day, for a week? I’m sure, positive in fact, that for the same price of staying in an all inclusive you could have a real adventure. One where choosing what to have from the bland menu of paella, pizza or pasta with your wristband wasn’t the highlight of the day.
In the past few months I’ve had super cheap city breaks to Paris and Bratislava, spent just a few pesos in the Philippines and hung out for a week in Budapest on barely anything.
I think the idea of a ‘holiday’ in the UK tends to be lying around by a pool, but I can guarantee that getting off your arse and doing something will energise you a lot more, make you feel like you’ve done something with your vacation days and won’t cost nearly as much as you think.
But I’m preaching to the converted here right?